From magazines to celebrity interviews to the news, diet myths and fads pop up daily. “Drink this, cut out that, don’t eat after 6pm, put butter in your coffee, etc.” fills the headlines on a daily basis. These myths confuse people into thinking that losing weight and/or being healthy is about doing one thing. Nothing could be further from the truth! Some crazy cleanse or diet cannot help you maintain a healthy weight, feel good or have energy long term. It’s just not possible! So, to prep for your fresh, green and nutrient-rich spring, ditch these 5 diet myths and see the success you will have:
- Juicing is the answer: Juicing is a craze promoting fruit and vegetable intake. Sounds good right? The challenge is that many “natural” juices have 60+ grams of sugar in them! Though they are full of vitamins and minerals, juices can add up to lots of calories over the course of the day, especially if consumed WITH a meal. If you want to get in more fruits and veggies, create a juice that is primarily vegetable-based with one-two servings fruit to keep the nutrients high and the calories low. Or try pureeing the whole fruit and vegetable so that you also get the fiber!
- Cleanse to get healthier: Magazines will teach you that your body needs to be “cleansed” with some fancy lemon juice or starvation of whole food. The truth is that your kidneys and liver are designed to cleanse your body and quite frankly, they do a darn good job of it. Yes, you might lose weight in the first few days on a cleanse, but it is typically due to the lack of calories and water loss versus actual fat loss that you can sustain. If you really want to cleanse, try a week of only whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, lean protein, etc. plus plenty of water. Then you can revert to a more balanced plan to help you with your weight/body fat goals. Restrictive diets and cleanses are typically too low in protein and can result in muscle loss if followed for long bouts of time.
- Eat a light breakfast: There is an old rule that says to breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. So basically, eat breakfast like you’re rich and dinner like you’re poor. The more you eat earlier in the day, the less hungry you are likely to be later in the day and at night. Aim to start your day with a breakfast of whole grain carbs, lean protein and healthy fat! Oats with peanut butter and blueberries paired with yogurt or eggs scrambled with veggies with whole grain toast and avocado are both winners!
- Cut out carbs: The reality is without carbohydrates your energy is likely to be low and you will likely be cranky. No one wins without carbs! However, choosing more whole food, high-fiber carbs like oats, potatoes with skin, brown rice, quinoa, etc. earlier in the day will ideally help lessen your sugar cravings at night. When you skip carbs during the day, your body tries to regulate things at night leaving you looking for cookies or ice cream. The goal is to eat more carbs when you are up working, moving and exercising throughout the day versus filling up on them sitting in your chair at night.
- Fat is bad for you: Fat is not bad for you! Now loading up on pizza and pastries is not a good plan, but garnishing your meals with healthy fat like nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocado, hummus and the like will help you feel more satisfied after meals. However, note that fat does yield more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein do (9 calories per gram versus 4) so sprinkle it in throughout the day.
So many people think balance is boring, but really, it’s sustainable, and even better, enjoyable. This spring ditch the crazy diet and focus on eating nutrient-rich foods you enjoy and exercising! You are way more likely to feel better and stick with it!